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Scripture: Written by God or Man?

A few weeks ago, Pastor Kyle preached on 2 Timothy 3:10-17. In doing so, He made a passing comment about verse 16; that entire sermons could be preached on it alone.

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,”

So, what makes this seemingly ambiguous verse so important? Isn’t this just some flowery language used to make some esoteric claim that is open to interpretation? God played a part in bringing us the Bible, that’s Christianity 101, so what?

That’s the whole point, the Devine Inspiration of Scripture is a foundational doctrine for Christ followers. It is upon the foundation of Devine Inspiration that Biblical inerrancy and infallibility rest. If the Bible is not inerrant and Infallible, that would mean that it is both morally and factually flawed and is untrustworthy. Along with The Bible, so too would go all of the Truth and Wisdom it contains. This includes that which has the power to raise a valley of dry bones, that is, the Gospel. So shall come, from the pit of Hell, the onslaught of attacks on the Inspiration of the Word of God.

Christians hold that God works through His Creation, namely man, to accomplish His will. The most common argument that you will see today is that if man wrote the Bible, obviously God didn’t. The key assertion that this argument makes is that writing, in no circumstance, can be a collaborative effort. If this argument was valid, we would have to question the authorship of books that were co-authored or written with the help of a scribe. Although this argument is lack-luster, it does lend itself to a grand conversation about how God works, and furthermore, how Scripture came to be.

This argument could be described as a “naturalistic explanation” because it uses an everyday occurrence to describe why something is how it is. The train of thought assumes that since something happened naturally, nothing supernatural took place. Once again, this logic hinges on a wild assumption, that being that God cannot work through the natural world- which He Created.

Perhaps a better example to illustrate what a naturalistic explanation is would be the theory of evolution as presented by Darwin. To be clear, although this is not something I hold to, I am not commenting on Divinely Inspired evolution. The means by which God brought us here is not of concern, all that matters is that we are here by God’s sovereign hand, not by accident. At Darwin’s time, there were no real atheistic explanations for how we got here. Like many atheists, Darwin already had drawn his conclusions about the way the world was and needed support for what he wanted to be true. With his ground-breaking research on natural selection, came the suggestion that perhaps this phenomenon was how the modern world came to be. And so it was, the naturalistic explanation, nothing supernatural happened, no Devine Involvement.

Unfortunately for Darwin, his attempt at thwarting God fell short, as he failed to show how God is unable to work through nature. In fact, in Moses’ Exodus 14 account of the parting of the Red Sea is evidence to the contrary. In Exodus 14:21, Moses reaches out his hand and God parted the Red Sea with a mighty wind. This is a verse that doesn’t typically stand out but it provides important context for understanding how God works.

Up to this point this post may seem somewhat dry, but herein lies God’s nugget of wisdom. God is not bound to working through the extraordinary, rather He works through ordinary means. In fact, encounters with God are so common that it doesn’t stand out anymore. In Hebrews 1:3, the author says that the Lord “upholds the universe by the Word of His Power”. In other words, just as He Created the universe in an instant, He is actively keeping it from dissolving just as soon. At times, it seems that He is not actively working in our lives but truthfully, He is so present that His presence becomes mundane.

We can find ourselves attributing the work of The Craftsman merely to His tools. If you tell me that you drove a nail into a block of wood, it would be absurd for me to say “No, the hammer did.” Likewise, it would be equally absurd to say “No, God didn’t do that, nature did.”
To keep with the analogy of using tools, let's bring welding and Souder into the comparison along with the nail. All three work to fasten or connect things together in very different ways. A carpenter will choose nails for his project while a metalworker will use a welding torch for his. While you could connect two wires by wrapping them around a nail, you will be better off using Souder.

In the same way, consider two biblical authors, King Solomon and the Apostle Paul. Solomon authored the exquisite love poetry of Song of Solomon, which would not have been the job for Paul. By contrast, Paul was a single man who himself admitted to having rather dry preaching.  After disobeying Gods command to take only one wife 699 times over, Solomon was not in position to pen the words “imitate me as I imitate Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1) In fact, Solomon probably could have used an address like the one Paul gave to the Athenians on Mars Hill in Acts 17.

All things considered, how does God work, both personally and generally, and how does that inform how we view Scripture? While it is amazing to witness God work through supernatural means, His Fingerprints are just as present when He works through the natural. We do both God and ourselves a great disservice when we forego the reality of Gods overwhelming presence in our lives. As God’s Creation is very Diverse, He has a wide variety of means, both people and in nature, to work through. There is amazing beauty to behold in how God not only creates uniquely gifted individuals but works through them in unique ways.